A Home for all Tasmanians


Having a secure place to call home is a basic human right, yet it’s one thousands of Tasmanians are denied. The housing waiting list is at its highest level in a decade[1], rents are soaring, [2] and homelessness is on the rise. Low to medium income and young Tasmanians can only dream of ever owning their own home.

Tasmanian property prices have skyrocketed since 2015. Between 2010 and 2015 Hobart prices rose by 2%, compared to the five years between 2015 and 2020, where prices have risen 50%.[3] If current trends continue, housing prices will increase by 175% on 2015 prices by 2030 and 70% on 2021 prices. This would make the median house price in Hobart $1,190,000.[4] A similar trend in Burnie could see prices increase to $575,000,[5] and in Launceston, $920,000.[6]

Figure 2.2.1: Hobart Residential Property Price Index[7]

Suburb Snapshot: Glenorchy

Between 2015 and 2020 the average price of a three-bedroom house in Glenorchy, historically on of Hobart’s more affordable suburbs, has risen by an average of 35,000 per year.[8]

This means that if a person would have to save $7,000 per year just to maintain progress towards a 20% deposit – and would effectively lose $7,000 per year, that they are unable to afford a deposit. This also doesn’t account for the debt and interest repayments a person has accrued when they finally manage to purchase a property.

In 2016 the median household income in Glenorchy was $44,980.[9] Since then Tasmanian wages have increased by 10%,[10] which would result in a $49,478 average household income.

Glenorchy renters pay an average of $22,100 per year in rent.[11] Average costs for other essentials show a range of $1,924[12] - $3,624[13] per year for power and utilities, $6,720[14] - $11,388[15] for food, $2,808[16] - $16,166[17] for transport, and $10,004[18] - $14,040[19] for education and health expenses.

Taking the lowest of all of these estimates yields a total cost of $43,556 – leaves $5,922 from the average household income for all other expenses.

Add to this the trend of significant rental price increases,[20] suppressed wage growth,[21] and poor social mobility,[22] and the result is that the average renting household in Glenorchy, under current market conditions, is very unlikely to ever be able to buy property in Glenorchy.

As a State, we urgently need to build more new, affordable and sustainable homes for Tasmanians.

A Housing Led Recovery

With infrastructure spending being revised and reprioritized, the Greens will invest in a housing led recovery from COVID-19. The twin social and economic crises caused by the pandemic are also an opportunity for a fresh start on housing.

Housing is critical social infrastructure.  According to UTAS research, there is a current supply shortfall of around 11 000 affordable homes.

This is where public stimulus funds need to be prioritized.  We can solve the housing crisis and invest in growing the construction workforce, with skills and training in green building design and construction.

It’s win win. The experience of the 2008 global financial crisis tells us the best ‘bang for buck’ stimulus spend is on housing. A Housing Led Recovery can reshape our society to be greener and fairer, while supporting local jobs and kickstarting the economy.

Construction Workforce

Construction workforce limitations are a significant gridlock in resolving the housing crisis.[23] The construction workforce steadily increased between 2013 and 2017, but has been in decline since 2017.[24] In 2013 there were 9.3 construction jobs per dwelling approval, compared to 6.5 in 2019 (Figure 2.2.2).

Figure 2.2.2: Construction jobs per dwelling approval[25],[26]

Construction apprenticeships and traineeships commencements have kept pace with dwelling approval increases. Actual completions have, however, declined since 2013, and cancellations have tripled, outpacing the increase in commencements (Figure 2.2.3).

Workforce limitations are apparent in the construction data as well. Since 2015 dwelling approvals have increased by 13%, and commencements have only increased by 11%. More concerningly, completions have declined by 2% and dwellings not yet commenced have increased by 64%.[27]

Figure 2.2.3: Construction apprenticeships compared to dwelling approvals[28],[29]

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NVCER) has done a number of studies over decades on non-completion of apprentice and traineeships. It has consistently found employment related factors, rather than personal ones, to be the main cause.[30],[31]

Public Works


We will establish a Department of Public Works to deliver well planned public housing, lowering the cost of increasing housing supply to taxpayers, and driving down private sector costs through competition.

The Department of Public Works will provide secure work with appropriately paid, stable working conditions for apprentices and trainees, improving completion rates for trades training.

Housing First

Finland’s Housing First policy has resulted in the Finland being the only country in the European Union to experience a decrease in homelessness in recent years.[32] In 2018 a Housing First pilot in the Czech Republic won the SozialMarie international prize for social innovation.[33] The project aimed for an 80% retention rate for tenants, and achieved a 96% retention rate after one year.[34]

The policy has also been adopted by Canada and New Zealand,[35] and has been advocated for as a policy to address homelessness in Australia by advocacy groups.[36],[37],[38] In 2019, Western Australian adopted a Housing First approach to homelessness.[39]

The Housing First model involves providing secure tenancy, instead of crisis accommodation, to those experiencing homelessness. The model uses tailored wrap around services to meet the individual needs of tenants – including drug and alcohol counselling, or mental health services. Unlike some other housing solutions under Housing First no strings are attached (such as abstaining from alcohol or compliance with mandatory programs).[40]

A Tasmanian Housing First Program


We will adopt a Housing First approach to homelessness, providing secure tenancy and wrap-around supports to homeless Tasmanians and changing lives for the long term.

Housing First programs are ambitious, and require significant investment in housing. In 2018 evidence submitted to the House of Assembly Select Committee on Housing Affordability suggested Tasmania has an 11,000 deficit of social and affordable housing.[41]

The total number of social housing in Tasmania has increased from 13,359 in 2018 to 13,806 in 2020 – an increase of 447.[42] Stage 2 of the affordable housing action plan aims to provide 1,500 new affordable lots and homes by 2023.[43] Assuming a continuation of $35 million in base funding between 2024-2030[44], conservatively another 696 will be built in this period.

This is a total of 2,643 homes under a business as usual scenario out of the 11,000 homes deficit. This means 8,357 more home builds would need to be funded in order to achieve a total of 11,000 more homes by 2030.

Affordable and Social Housing Investment


We will invest in 8357 additional social and affordable homes by 2030 in order to meet the 11000 homes deficit. This will include an early investment in 4,000 public housing dwellings to meet current housing waiting list demands, and 2000 rent-to-buy affordable homes for low to middle income earners.

Short-Stay Regulation

The proliferation of short-stay accommodation has caused significant housing pressures, particularly in areas like Hobart.[45] The most contemporary estimate for Hobart is that there is a short stay density of 12%, the greatest proportion of any capital city in Australia, and one of the highest globally.[46]

Other jurisdictions have addressed the issue with use of caps, regulatory standards (similar standards as hotels), as well as taxes and fees. Systems imposing limitations the number of permits issued have been shown to be effective. [47]

Vacancy rates in Hobart have reached 0.6%[48] and the weekly rents for houses have increased by 41% over the last four years.[49] Hobart, due to high investment yields, has also become an investment hotspot,[50] driving up property prices and making the market less affordable. Urgent regulation is needed to take immediate pressure of the rental and housing markets.

Short-Stay Regulation


We will regulate short-stay accommodation to limit the number of whole properties able to be used as short-stay in residential zones in tight rental markets. The regulations will exempt people listing a part of their principal residence, or those listing their principal residence while they are temporarily absent.

We will institute an immediate freeze on new listings in areas of rental shortage, and provide Local Government with powers to refuse to issue or renew permits when areas are under rental shortages. The determinations of rental shortages will be made by the office of the State Demographer.


[1] Humphries, A, Battlelines are being drawn as Tasmania gears up for an early election, ABC News, March 2021.

[2] Tenants’ Union of Tasmania, Tasmanian Rents, 2021.

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities, cat. 6416.0, December 2020.

[4] realestate.com.au, Hobart, 2021.

[5] realestate.com.au, Burnie, 2021.

[6] realestate.com.au, Launceston, 2021.

[7] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities, cat. 6416.0, December 2020.

[8] realestate.com.au, Glenorchy, 2021.

[9] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016 Census QuickStats, 2020.

[10] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Wage Price Index, Australia, cat. 6345.0, February 2021.

[11] realestate.com.au, Glenorchy, 2021.

[12] TasCOSS, What does it cost to live in Tasmania?, 2019.

[13] Budget Direct, The Cost of Living in Hobart, n.d.

[14] Canstar Blue, What is the average grocery bill?, 2020.

[15] TasCOSS, What does it cost to live in Tasmania?, 2019.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Budget Direct, Car Running Costs in Australia 2020, 2020.

[18] .id, South Tasmania Household Expenditure, 2020.

[19] TasCOSS, What does it cost to live in Tasmania?, 2019.

[20] SQM Research, Weekly Rents, 2021.

[21] Quiggin, J, Ultra low wage growth isn’t accidental. It is the intended outcome of government policies, The Conversation, 2020.

[22] The Mandarin, Moving up: why social mobility matters, The Mandarin, 2017.

[23] Eccleston, R, Denny, L, Verdouw, J, and Flanagan, K, Housing in Hobart: an overview of the data, Unvisersity of Tasmania, 2018.

[24] .id, Tasmania - Employment by industry, n.d.

[25] Dwelling Approvals data source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Building Approvals, Australia, 2021.

[26] Construction workforce data source: .id, Tasmania - Employment by industry, n.d.

[27] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Building Approvals, Australia, 2021.

[28] Dwelling Approvals data source: ibid.

[29] Construction Apprentice data source: NCVER, Apprentices and trainees 2020: September quarter - Tasmania, 2021.

[30] National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Traditional trade apprenticeships: experiences and outcomes, 2020, p. 14.

[31] National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Reasons for new apprentices’ non-completions, 2001, p. 24.

[32] Housing First Europe Hub, Finland Overview, 2021.

[33] SozialMarie, Housing First for Families in Brno, 2018.

[34] Platforma pro sociální bydlení, Housing First for Families in Brno, n.d.

[35] Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, What is the Housing First model and how does it help those experiencing homelessness?, n.d.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Homelessness Australia, Housing First Australia, n.d.

[38] Mission Australia, To have Housing First…Australia needs housing, first, 2019.

[39] Department of Communities, Housing First Homelessness Initiative, Government of Western Australia, n.d.

[40] Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, What is the Housing First model and how does it help those experiencing homelessness?, n.d.

[41] House of Assembly Select Committee on Housing Affordability, transcript of evidence - 4 September 2019, 2019, p. 2.

[42] Productivity Commission, Housing Data Tables, Part G, Section 18, Housing, Report on Government Services, 2021.

[43] Tasmanian Government, Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Action Plan 2019-2023, 2019, p.5.

[44] Tasmanian Government, Budget Paper No. 1, 2020-21 Tasmanian Budget, p. 104.

[45] Institute for the Study of Social Change, Regulating Short-Stay Accommodation in Tasmania: Issues to consider and  options for reform, University of tasmania, 2019.

[46] Glaetzer, New push to limit Airbnb permits in Hobart as data reveals the high density of short-stay properties in the capital, The Mercury, 2020.

[47] Institute for the Study of Social Change, Regulating Short-Stay Accommodation in Tasmania: Issues to consider and  options for reform, University of tasmania, 2019.

[48] SQM Research, Residential Vacancy Rates, 2021.

[49] SQM Research, Weekly Rents, 2021.

[50] Chesher, I, Property hotspots for 2020: Experts pinpoint the locations to watch, domain.com, 2020.